Coronary heart disease and body fat distribution.
Larger waist circumference or waist-hip ratio, as crude indicators of visceral fat mass, are associated with adverse metabolic profile, but their role in predicting future coronary heart disease (CHD) events has been less investigated. Recent epidemiologic findings suggest that these simple and inexpensive measures of abdominal fat distribution predict CHD independently of body mass index, and, to a certain extent, cardiovascular disease risk factors. The magnitude and shape of the association between abdominal adiposity and CHD have been shown to vary with age, gender, and ethnicity. Studies have also suggested that lower body fat is associated with reduced CHD risk, although the clinical relevance for this finding needs further elucidation. Assessing body fat distribution may be useful for improving CHD risk assessment, although more studies are needed to assess consistency in CHD risk predictions across populations. A consensus is also needed to define the clinically relevant cut-off points for waist circumference or waist-hip ratio.